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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Fight The Feeling Of Inadequacy




So that's it.
I'm back in the UK just over a year since I left for Los Angeles and began my adventure.

There are no words that will be able to do justification to the incredible year I have had. 
It has just been phenomenal.

However, with every performing arts job that comes to an end, there comes that period of uncertainty which simply boils down to:

"what am I going to do next?"

When I heard that I didn't have a contract waiting for me immediately after I left and that there might be a period of time before I heard anything to do with employment, to be completely honest it was heartbreaking.

To have come from a year of constant highs and seeing some of the most incredible things and having some of the most incredible experiences, to the realisation that it was all going to end with uncertainty as to whether or not I would ever get to do this again, was extremely hard to get not only my head but also my heart around.

It's kind of a given, everyone who wants a job in the arts knows that there is quite literally no job security and that you can't take any opportunity for granted. You may have an absolutely amazing gig that pays ridiculously well but, that could be it for the next 6-9 months.

You never know when the next job is going to come your way. Not only that, but you also kind of have to go back to square one and start re-auditioning for everything.

You feel like it's a constant up-hill struggle. You get to a certain comfortable height and then a rock slips from underneath you and you slide back down to where you started again.

Quite frankly, it sucks.

However, I have come to realise something.

In the period of my life that I am in now, there is a looming uncertainty that surrounds my head as to where my career is heading.

At first this was the worst thing in the world to me. I hated it. It felt like a dark cloud was just surrounding and following me around all day everyday. I couldn't quite shake the inevitable fear of "you're going to be unemployed" and the countdown until I left the ship and that day came around. I couldn't shake the feeling of inadequacy. I felt like I wasn't good enough.

It's taken a while. It's taken me being thrown into the deep end and having to drag myself back up and start re-climbing the mountain. But I have come to realise that, this is all part of the excitement of life.

I know that most people who want jobs in the performing arts are told how unlikely it is to happen and we all kind of shrug it off with a "yeah I know but i'm gonna make it." Which is fine, there's nothing wrong with having an extreme determination and passion for something, in fact I completely encourage it, it's got me to where I am today. But when it happens to you and you are without a job, it's sometimes hard to keep the determination going.

To the feeling of inadequacy that comes from not CURRENTLY having a job in the arts, I say FUCK YOU.

It's strange but i'm kind of getting a thrill from being back to where I started. I'm a much more experienced, much stronger, much more determined artist than I was ever before.

And that's because I know what is a stake. I know what it's like to live the highs of living out your passion. I know what it's like to feel adequate.

To anyone who doubts themselves and is constantly getting knock-backs in the performing arts industry I implore you to keep the faith, keep strong and keep going.

Because nothing feels better than to be doing what you love. Nothing compares to living your passion.

And if the opportunity is there to do it...don't you dare let it pass you by.




-Harry

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Angel Down





The year of traveling the world is almost coming to a close. 

As I sail around the mediterranean seas and visit so many countries and places I have never seen in my life, I am continuing to tick things off of my bucket list. 

It's strange to think that in the last year of my life, a boy who has only ever travelled to go on holidays, has managed to visit approximately 20% of the world in just one year. 

One recent highlight for me was visiting the Leaning Tower Of Pisa.

However it wasn't just because I got to see this spectacular monument, there is something next to it that has left a more significant impression on me.

For those of you who have never visited the Leaning Tower Of Pisa i'll break down for you what it's like.

  1. No matter where you walk you are ruining someones photo
  2. There are more cameras than people there and there is usually thousands and thousands of people there
  3. You will have to fight through crowds and crowds of people and be incredibly patient to get the photo that you want

But like I said, there was something next to it that made a bigger impact on me.

Just next to the leaning tower is a statue of a fallen angel. 

He lays upon the grass. His legs have disappeard. His head has smashed open.

But his wings are in tact. 

As he lays there, he is forced to gaze upon this piece of archetectual brilliance towering above him. 

Most people come to see that instead of traveling to see the fallen angel.

Yet his wings are still in tact. 

He is broken, cast aside and almost a second thought to most people there.

But his wings are still in tact.

It may just be a monument and a statue to some people but to me, it's symbolic meaning is something far greater. 

Broken body, but his wings are potential to soar and to fly are still there.

Someone once told me that it's okay to feel like shit. It's okay to let your guard down. It's okay to be human. It's okay to be a fallen angel. 

I haven't posted in a very long time because quite honestly I just haven't felt particularly great or motivated.

I write to inspire and I haven't felt very inspired myself. 

But when I look back at the pictures I took of this fallen angel and I think about the feelings I got when I stood by and looked upon it....I realise that this person it right.

Life sometimes hands you a big heaping pile of shit and disappointment is a huge part of life that we all have to face. We will all, at some point, be the fallen angel.

Life is never easy, no matter which path you take but with a little faith, a little self-belief, a little motivation, you can go a long way.

Your wings will always remain in tact no matter how broken, defeated, upset, unmotivated or shit the rest of you may feel. 

You can fly again. 





- Harry

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Top Five Moments Of The Last Year Of My Life

It is just over a year since I accepted my current job that has taken me to places I never thought I would see in my life and has given me the opportunities to experience things I never thought I would. 

A whole year of my life has now passed and to say it has been a journey like no-other doesn't quite do it justice. 

It's extremely hard for me to articulate just how phenomenal this past year of my life has been. 

I have had so many people ask me:

"What's been your favourite experience since you started?"

Honestly, there is no simple answer to that question. 

So seeing as a whole year has passed since I took this job, I have decided that this post is going to be dedicated to:

 "The Top Five Moments Of The Last Year Of My Life"


1.  Spending a month in California

Not only was the prospect of actually going Los Angeles kind of unimaginable to me at once point in my life, the fact that I got to go out there and work is still mind-boggling to me. Whilst there I got to meet a huge array of people, however there are two people who live out there who have made my stay in Los Angeles one of the most memorable experiences since leaving home. I got to go to Disneyland California and California Adventure with them, got to experience my first soccer game with them and I got to just hang out and spend time with people who I really hope are friends for life. I met them on my first time out there and I was ecstatic to fly back out in April of this year and see them again. So my first moment goes to the two people who made Los Angeles even more incredible. Here's to having friends around the world.





2.  Getting to set foot on some of the French Polynesian Islands

To this say I am still yet to see something that can compare to the natural beauty that the islands of Moorea, Bora Bora and Rangiroa had to offer.











3.  Meeting my best friend in the world on the other side of the world

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be able to stop in Auckland, New Zealand for the day. Whilst there, my best friend in the whole entire world also happened to be there during her travels. We met up after months of being apart and she came with me and my fellow cast mate as we bunjee jumped off of a bridge to celebrate his birthday. I have been friends with one of these people for 22 years and with the other one for a couple of months, but friendship doesn't always need a lot of time for someone to become extremely important to you. To share that experience with two people whom I hold close to my heart is something I will never forget.








4.  Climbing mountains in Norway

I've never been one to turn down a challenge, so when a seemingly impossible-to-climb mountain is stationed directly in front of me, I can't help but feel compelled to conquer it. Me and an extremely special friend of mine from on board the ship decided that the task of the day that must be completed was to conquer a mountain. And so we climbed, like frodo and sam climbing mount doom, we climbed. I could feel my heart beat in my ears as I stood on top of this mountain. The view, nothing short of breathtaking. There was a pile of rocks that, we assumed had been placed there by other conqurers of the mountain, so we added our own rocks to the pile.






5.  24 hours in Copenhagen  with the most important person in the world to me

I think the worst part about my job right now is not being able to share the experiences I am having with the person I love. It's very much a win/lose situation. I get to see all these amazing places and experience all these amazing things, but there is always a longing to have a certain someone there beside me experiencing them too. So when the opportunity arose to have 24 hours with him in a port we have both never seen, I couldn't have been happier. He flew over last minute to Copenhagen and we spent the entire day and night together. We didn't do anything particularly spectacular like bunjee jumping, but honestly, just wandering around the streets of Copenhagen and then the Tivoli gardens (which is like a mini-theme park) with him, is one of my favourite memories of the past year. 








I'm still not finished. I have around 3 months left until this chapter of my life is over so I'm sure I'm going to have some more phenomenal experiences. 

However, the main thing that I have learnt is it isn't necessarily what you do or what you experience, the things that make it worth remembering are the people you share those moments with. 

All of my greatest memories of the past year involve people that are extremely special to me. 

And honestly, that makes the experiences truly unforgettable. 

-Harry

Monday, 25 July 2016

The Missing Piece Of Luggage







September 14th 2015 I packed my bags and left London Heathrow Airport for LAX airport. 

As soon as I went through security I felt it. The sudden "my heart fell out of my arse" moment. A drop in emotion. The dread coursing through your veins as you rack your mind and go over everything you had meticulously packed and checked off a scruffy checklist on a piece of scrap paper. 

"I swear I have everything. I swear everything was ticked off. I packed it all up."

But the feeling was not going.

An eleven hour flight over to Los Angeles with several drinks to accompany me and still the feeling will not go.

What could I possibly have forgotten?

Rehearsals pass, we fly out to Papeete- Tahiti and I go through the same packing ritual that I did before hand.  

Something was missing. But it's impossible, it was all here.

I travel half way around the world on a small little cruise ship following my passion and my dream.

Still, I am an incomplete traveller missing a piece of luggage. 

The time comes to go home for a few weeks. I fly back from Sydney - Australia with a short pit stop for fuel in Dubai. 

Like a bloodhound following a scent, I can feel that I am drawing closer to that missing piece if luggage.

It's at home. I know it is.

I arrive in a state of sleep-deprivation and confusion as to what time zone I was in. 

I leave baggage reclaim and ths missing piece is so close to me I can feel it. Feel it's nervous, anxious, excited energy. It's just beyond those doors.

A weary traveler wanders through the doors of "International Arrivals" in London Heathrow airport.

There it is. Right where I left it. 

My missing piece of luggage. 

He is standing there with our puppy in his arms.

The vacation period begins and I am reunited with my lost luggage. Everything is back to normal. I am a complete traveler. 

Until the 10th of April, when the process repeats itself untik the 31st of October. 

But I am more aware, more adaptable and a hell of a lot more mature than last time.

I am able to cope without my vital piece of luggage. I am able to get by and enjoy the experiences without it.

But that doesn't stop the longing. The longing to have it by my side at all times.

 I will continue to wander until I am able to have my luggage by my side. Until I am complete.

Until you are here with me. 

-Harry


Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Jigsaw From Around The World





If you follow my blog and you actually are interested in it you may have questioned it. You might have seen the date of my last post and questioned it.

Hell even I have questioned it.

Why am I not posting more posts?

I see people all over the internet, I know people in my personal life who if given the opportunity to see the world like I am would be posting about it constantly.

Every adventure, every feeling, every waking moment they spend travelling the world they would try and share with the world.

But the truth is instead of trying to live my life online, I'm actually taking my time to be selfish.

I have worked so hard to get to where I am right now. To be in the place I am right now. To be having the experiences I am having right now. 

The truth is, I just want to be having these experiences for myself.

Without being completely selfish obviously I share as much as I can on my facebook page as truly I always have and always will write about whatever I want to write about.

But I'm trying to find and explore the fine line between livinf your life online for all to see and quite simply just living my life.

I don't care about the hits or the interest I get on this thing. I have seen way too mich in the world to make me realise that, the little bubbles we create for ourselves online are essentially meaningless.

I could snap a picture and write about how I hiked up a gigantic mountain in Honningsvag to  be greeted by simply one of the greatest views I have seen in my life.

I could write in depth about how there was a pile of stones up at the top of this mountain and how I symbollically placed a stone on top of this pile to contribute to a piece of man-made natural beauty that most will never get to see in their life but I will forever know that I was there.


But really, I don't need to validate the experiences I have had by writing in depth about them online.

I used to do it, lord knows you can scroll back through my posts and see that I tried.


But what I have come to realise is that I need to first and foremost have these experiences for myself and then share them online without feeling obligated to do something just so I can post about it.

I want to find a piece of myself from various places around the world and ultimately become a person who is patchworked from around the globe. 

For example, in Moorea I found part of myself that realised you can be happy with very little.

In New York I have found the part of myself who is attracted to the commercialism side of life.

In Norway I have found the part of myself that is appreciative of exquisite natural beauty that the world has to offer.

I'm sure there are so many more parts to me just waiting to be discovered around the globe.

And I will share as much as I can and as much as I want to on this page.

But I need to prioritise completing the puzzle that is Harry Casella before feeling obligated to post a story for you all to read.

My journey of self-discovery from around the world has only just begun. 

-Harry

Friday, 24 June 2016

Make Something Of It


Have you ever discovered you could do something and wanted to make something of it? 

Drawing, singing, photography, whatever it is, you discover you can do something or that you have a passion for something and you want to make something of it. 


You want to make something of yourself using it. 

This fire for making something out of a talent lays dormant in me when it comes to performing.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to perform. It occurred to me quite early on that it was more than just a hobby, it was something that actually made me feel alive..made me feel like I had a purpose. 

It's only as you get older that you begin to realise the harsh reality of how insanely difficult it is to translate an artistic talent into something that can provide a lifestyle for you. 

Usually the reality check comes from a careers advisor that you encounter as a teenager who "advises" you on "how hard it is to make it in the arts industry and it would be much better and much more secure to follow a different path."

But to me it never made logical sense to follow a path that you didn't want to walk. 

If you don't like the taste of fish you aren't going to order it at a restaurant just because everyone else is and it's easier to just go with the crowd than order something you like and will truly enjoy. 

The problem is though, so many people view success in the arts industry as fame or becoming famous. 

That is so wrong. 

When it comes to the arts, success is extremely hard to define. In fact in my opinion it is entirely subjective and down to the individual on what success is. 

For me, I have never really aspired to be famous, it's not an end goal of mine. 

If I ever did something that had the end result of fame then I guess I would just have to deal with it.

But in all honesty I'm not setting out to acheive that, 

All I have ever wanted is to use my gift in order to provide not only for myself but for my loved ones.

If I can do that then I can leave this earth knowing I have succeeded. Knowing I walked the path I wanted to and knowing that my careers advisor was wrog. 

That measure of success might not be for everyone and that is what I mean when I say it is entirely subjective. That is just how I will measure my success. 

But so many people view others chasing a career in the arts as a pursuit for fame.

It isn't. It's a pursuit to express a feeling that lays tormented unless it is let out. 


-Harry

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

One Day In New York City





It's a little known fact that New York is one of my favourite places in the world. 

I have travelled all over the place in the past year and this city still remains one of my all time favourite places.

It holds extremely special memories for me. 

I spent my twenty-first birthday in this city.

If I had a hell of a lot of money I would live here.

The city has encapsulated my heart.

And on my latest adventure around the globe I have been blessed to spend one day in New York before heading over to the UK via Canada and Iceland.

Now.... I have done pretty much all the big touristy things there are to do in New York, so it occured to me that I needed to do something different, something unique, something special. Especially if I'm only here for one day.

So. Here it is. 

On board the ship one of the many activities that I help host is journal making. Within the duration of my time on board this ship, as you can imagine, I have made countless journals. But this time I have decided to do something special with my latest creation. 













I may never see this book ever again. But here's hoping that it reaches the hands of a creative individual with a story to tell.


-Harry






Monday, 23 May 2016

The Worst Part About The Best Job






When I was younger and I used to religiously watch the reality show "Big Brother" there was always a part of it that baffled me.

 I mean, Besides the obvious of why would someone shove a wine bottle inside themselves on national tv.

No, What baffled me was the eviction process.  A group of people in a confined space all day everyday, talking, laughing, crying, drinking etc. Everything they did they were together. Then each week, one was plucked from that world and thrust back out into the real world. 

What always baffled me was...why do the other contestants cry when one of the others is leaving? 

The contestants would talk of how close they were, how much they bonded, how well they knew each other etc.

But I never understood how people could get so emotionally destraught after knowing someone for such a short amount of time.

I never understood it until now. 

One of the greatest things about working on a cruise ship is the sheer plethora of people from all walks of life that you will meet. It's almost overwhelming just how many different people you can meet in a short space of time. 

But something that people don't realise is just how much time you can spend with a person you meet on a ship.

When you are at sea, you can't go anywhere. You can't just wander off and go to town. You can't just hop on a train and get away. No, you are pretty much stuck on that ship with the same group of people for the duration of yours or their stay.  Essentially you are in your own floating big brother house.

It's in this time that something beautifully complex can happen.

With the sheer amount of time you can spend with somebody, combined with how little space there is to actually be away from them, you can form an incredibly strong bond with someone after knowing them for a short space of time.

You work and live within the same confinements so you can end up seeing the same one person throughout the majority of your day. 

I have never shyed away from forming connections with people, in fact if somebodies conversation can stimulate me intellectually and challenge me, the likelihood is i'll stick around and want to connect with you. 

I have never in my life experienced anything quite like the connections I have created whilst having this job. 

There are people that have come in to my life in the recent past that have meant so much to me that I can't see a future without them there. 

And so, when it comes to the end of a contract for either you or the person you have connected with, the hardest part ensues.

The goodbye.

It's in these moments that I finally understood why the contestants on big brother were seemingly so destraught at one person leaving the house. 

Saying goodbye to someone you have shared so many intimate details with is always going to be hard, regardless of how  long you have known them. 

But for me it will never be a goodbye.

It's always a "See You Soon". 

I like to think of this ship as a world of its own.

It exists within the real world without really existing. Sailing from one part of the world to the other, breifly touching reality and letting it's inhabitants experience reality to then withdraw them all back in and move on.

A world floating on the waters of the world.

But it's my world. It's not real but it's all I have right now. 

And so when one of my closest connections in this world is thrust out into the real world, it's heartbreaking. 

Hence why it'll always be a "See you soon".

See you on the flip side. See you in the real world. 


-Harry

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Before Extraordinary and After



"I had just come to accept that my life was going to be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen"
-Ransom Riggs in "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"


Never before has a sentence summed up the way I have felt about my life so perfectly then the first line in a trilogy of books that I have become fully enveloped in.

But this post isn't about my love for these books and how I have fallen head over heels for the fantasy that they describe. 

This post is about me trying to comprehend and articulate what I see as my life right before my eyes.

To give you a low-down on my life if you haven't been following my blog, just over a year ago I left the Urdang academy and spent the foreseeable future slaving away in a job I despised.

Waking up every day and going to work simply because that's what my life was.

No motivation to be there. No want to sell perfumes to people who couldn't give a damn about who I am as a person, they were only interested in the price tag attached to the item and whether or not I could give them a discount.

Nothing about it was what I wanted.

Through sheer determination I worked my way out of that soul destroying job into a job that ignites my soul instead of stamping on it.

I then travelled to some of the most phenomenal places on this earth all the while doing what I love.

I returned home in early February to....well....the ordinary.

The ordinary. A place I had grown so comfortable in. A place that I was beginning to accept my life would situate and just....be there.

Not living. Simply existing.

But right now I am being blessed with the opportunity to escape the ordinary. To live in the extraordinary. To feel alive.

This approaching Sunday I fly back out to LA to begin another incredible adventure.

Six months travelling around America and Europe.

And so, right now my life is split into two things....before the extraordinary and after.


-Harry



Tuesday, 15 March 2016

It is not right to remain the same forever.



How do you live in a life that in your head was put on pause but in reality has moved on?

When I left for LA last September I pretty much assumed that everything I had back home would almost freeze and I would cone back to it, unfreeze it and carry on as normal.

The reality is that was never going to happen.

As much as I have grown into the man I am today everything else has been following it's own path.

It's like coming to a fork in the road and both taking seperate paths, experiencing different journeys and meeting at the same point together in the future. 

I thought everything would be the same and I thought everyone would be the same.

But I was wrong.

Since being back I think that is what I have been struggling with.

The beauty of my job is obviously that I get to see some incredible places but, the real beauty is the things I have drawn from those places.

The most important one being perspective.

At the moment it is a blessing and a curse for me because I'm able to approach situations in a completely different way to how the old Harry would have done. But the frustration comes when I can't express to people certain things because they lack perspective.

I was fortunate enough to almost be plucked from the toy box of my life, look at it and learn about it and then be put back in. 

And unless you have had that same experience then it's hard to understand where the other toys are coming from.


I know I've changed. I'm not the person I was before leaving.

I can't quite put my finger on exactly what has changed but, I know something has.

But It's not right to remain the same forever.

If you do, you almost become stale. A human being going theough life never open to being changed by the experiences you have.

Life isn't a moment. It's a journey.

And unless you are willing to let yourself succumb to being changed by that journey, is there much point in going on one? 



-Harry






Thursday, 3 March 2016

Back To The Start





Since I left for LA last September I've been trying to blog about everything I have been up to over the past few months.

The things I have done, the way I have felt, the experiences I have had and what it's felt like to finally be able to say that I love my job.

But the truth is keeping up to date with everything I have experienced and the way I feel about it all has proved exceedingly difficult.

I've found myself almost feeling like I HAD TO update my blog with a new entry. A new place. A new experience.

I swore at the beginning of this little internet diary of my life that I would never write unless it came from my heart and I think with the overwhelming tailspin that my life was put into in September, I lost that.

I wrote just because I wanted to try and share with anyone who reads this my experiences and how devoting your life to something can pay off. I was trying to show you all just what it means to be successful and the things you can achieve when you put your entire body & soul towards it.




But since starting my travel diaries, I'm just finding myself writing just because I felt like I had too. Not that anyone has actually made me feel like it, no-one has demanded blog posts from me and I don't earn anything from this but it just hasn't felt right.

If i'm honest with myself I'm loving being able to re-tell the stories and the adventures that I have been on but it's also becoming a little tedious. It's hard to keep people interested when it comes across that you are just bragging about your life.

And in a way yes I am. I'm proud of what I have worked towards and I'm proud of myself for achieving it and if i'm coming across as a little arrogant then I can't argue that.

But all I can say is it's not coming from a place of arrogance. It's coming from a place of finally being proud of myself and if people aren't okay with that then, I guess i'm okay with that.

However I can't help but feel that recently I've just been writing just because...well just because. I can only say that the increasing time between my blog posts is because I literally struggle to find any sort of motivation to write when it's not coming from my heart.

This isn't an end to the accounts of my travels. One day I will tell you all the stories that I have missed out.

But for now I need to write from the heart because if i'm not then there is just no point in having this blog.

I leave for LA again in April to embark on a completely new adventure in a different part of the world to where I was before. I'm spending most of 2016 travelling around Europe with some absolutely incredible people.

Don't despair, if I feel inspiration from one of my adventures then of course I will update this with a story and there will probably be all sorts of stories featured in whatever I choose to write.  More often than not you can find updates on my FACEBOOK PAGE or any other social media you can find me on so if you feel like you want to keep as up to date as possible, then head there.

I just need to go back to the reason I started this in the first place.

"Follow my life and my journey"

My 2016 will be worth following......




-Harry

Monday, 22 February 2016

Travel Diaries: Costa Rica




Christmas is pretty much my favourite time of year.

Nothing the beats the feeling of christmas. Surrounded by family, food, warmth, presents, love, why would any other time of the year be any better?

Well this year, I wasn't surrounded by immediate family in fact I was surrounded with a new second family of people that I had met in September.

This year I spent christmas in Costa Rica.

Considering i'm from England where at christmas time you pretty much risk pneumonia when going outside, to spend this time of year in the tropical heat of Costa Rica (Puntarenas to be exact) was something very different.

We started the morning opening gifts from each other. We had organised a secret santa amongst our cast and we were each exchanging our secret santa gifts with our recipricantt.

Once that was over and we had necked a couple of bucks fizz's and hot chocolates, we decided to get off ship.

Prior to christmas day actually arriving we had realised that there was a zip-lining experience that we could do whilst in Puntarenas and what better way to spend christmas day than zip-lining through a tropical jungle?

After an hours taxi ride partnered with an indescribable level of humidity (because his air conditioning didn't work) and a strong hangover from the night before, we pulled up just outside a local shop.

This shop was flooded with tourists and locals. It sold local produce, imported snacks and little handmade trinkets.

But the thing I loved the most about this little shop is that the most common thing to do was to order a coconut.

There was a counter, kind of like you would find at your local coffee store. However this place wasn't for ordering coffees...oh no...the common thing to do was to order a coconut.

You literally ordered a coconut over the counter and it was handed to you with the top cut off and a straw sticking out of it. 

Nothing on this earth beats the taste of fresh coconut water. 

After filling up on coconut juice, we then decided it was tims to go zip-lining. Unfortunately, due to it being an extremely popular activity to do (even on Christmas day) it was over crowded and we were unable to do so. 

But, what happens next is what truly made this Christmas memorable.



Our taxi driver had mentioned that there was a monkey sanctuary nearby.

Now, something that I have had on my bucket list since I was very little, was to hold a monkey.

I know that might sound weird but, I have always had a fascination with monkeys. At one point in my life I owned roughly over 100 monkey plush toys of various sizes. Up until christmas day 2015 I had only seen monkeys in captivity.

Our taxi driver took us to this "Monkey Sanctuary" which basically meant that he droves us into the middle of the jungle to a shack where a man was living.

This man came out and welcomed us and with his limited English he beckoned us further into the woods. As he did so, whilst carrying handfuls of sliced bananas and crushed crackers, he whistled loudly.

After a couple of moments of silence, the trees began to move.

A further couple of moments later and an army of capuchin monkeys came swinging down from the trees to meet us.


For the next thirty minutes or so we had dozens of monkeys crawling all over us.

It was an experience, a christmas and a moment to tick off of my bucket list that I will never forget.







I don't think I will ever have another christmas day like that and I will never forget it. 



-Harry

Next Stop: Aruba

Monday, 15 February 2016

Travel Diaries: Loreto



Our next stop in mexico was in Loreto. 

Again, a place I have never heard of. 

But that didn't stop my need for an adventure.

Now when you visit all of the exotic places that I have visited in the last couple of months, it might sound a little bit spoilt but, simply laying on a pictoresque beach with crystal clear blue water becomes (and I hate to say it) boring to me.



You visit a completely different culture that is pretty much a world away from what you are used to and all you can think to do, is go and lay on a beach? 

I can only stomach that to a certain point and then I get sick of it. 

Maybe it's just me, maybe I have a short attention span, I don't know....but I can only handle laying on a beach for so long.




So when I went to Loreto, I was determined to have an adventure. 

I got off of the ship with our female singer and her husband, two people whom I absolutely admire.

Initially we just wandered around the local town, which in itself was lovely because it had a hell of a lot of character and was just extremely quaint.

As we continued to walk around, the need for an adventure got stronger.

Eventually we came across a man who said that he would take us about an hour out of the city on a hike in the desert to see some Native American cave drawings that had been done thousands of years ago.

A hike in the middle of the desert with a complete stranger in a completely foreign country......sure!



After an hour's ride that took us out of the city our driver suddenly turned off the main road and we were driving completely off road to what seemed like the middle of nowhere.

Eventually, after stopping and letting some cows pass the car, we had "arrived".

And by arrived, I mean he simply just stopped in the middle of the desert and said "we are here".

It's strange because for some reason, none of us were apprehensive about being seemingly dropped off in the middle of the desert with little to no idea as to where we a) were or b) going.

We hopped out the car and began our hike.

It was an absolutely stunning experience. 

I was surrounded by baron lands with nothing but rocks, dirt and a couple of plants that were desperately in need of water.



And so we continued walking for around two hours. Up and down mountainous tundra and over rocks that could quite literally have broken my ankle had I put the wrong foot forward.

Until suddenly, we had arrived. 

Initially it was quite a vast expanse of rocks with the bed of a dried up river running through the centre of it. There was a cliff that towered above us and directly at the foot of this cliff was some hollowed out sections.

Above these sections were some drawings.



Drawing that had been done thousands of years ago by native american tribes who had found refuge in the exact place that I was standing.

I was completely blown away.






It's mind boggling to think that thousands of years ago. there were tribes of human civilisation that found life here. 

That they communicated by drawing on the walls or carving into the rocks.

As I sit here and type on my laptop, I'm able to communicate with anyone instantly. 

Just to think that at some point in our history this was all there was. Rocks, walls and boulders.

I felt honoured to be in the presence of such a beautiful thing and it was completely worth the hike into the desert accompanied by a complete stranger. 


-Harry 


Next Stop: Punteranas, Costa Rica 







Saturday, 6 February 2016

Travel Diaries: Peurto Vallarta




The time that we docked in Peurto Vallarta was the first time I had ever set foot in Mexico. 

You hear so much about these countries. 

Sombrero's, Taco's, Chips & Salsa, Tequila, Magarita's etc are some of the stereotypical things that people will think of when it comes to Mexico.




And being fresh off the boat in a country that I had never visited before, I didn't know what to expect other than that. 

As I walked off the ship, we were greeted by a local mariachi band who were playing an array of beautiful music to welcome us to their country. Dressed in traditional clothes, they played and played for many an hour whilst guests and crew left the boat to venture on land. 

Myself and two other members of my cast hopped in a taxi which was quite frankly a terrifying experience. If you have ever been in a yellow taxi cab in New York City you will know what I'm talking about. Our journey was nothing short of a virtual reality experience of somebody playing Mario Kart badly. Truly, I think I left an inprint of my nails on a handrail in the back seat.




Anyways, much to my delight we eventually arrived at a resort we had heard a lot about and got out of the taxi in one piece.

Here we sat on the beach at a resort called "Blue Chairs" which was a extremely popular gay resort.

To be completely honest, the last thing I expected was for a place like this to have such a welcoming area for homosexuality. 

And much to my surprise and delight, this was a similar theme pretty much throughout the majority of the places I saw in Peurto Vallarta. 

When you visit a foreign country, although it shouldn't be like this, you have to sometimes be cautious as to whether or not your lifestyle is as universally accepted as you want it to be.

Thankfully, this place proved a pleasant surprise.

And so, with many margarita's, tortilla chips & salsa in my system, I felt completely relaxed and free in a place like this.

Free to be whoever I wanted to be with no worries of judgement.

I loved Puerto Vallarta and I am excited to visit there in the near future.



 



Next Stop: Loreto, Mexico 

-Harry






Monday, 11 January 2016

Travel Diaries: Lahaina




In my last post I expressed how I had always wanted to visit Hawaii.

Naively and partially because I never paid any attention in geography class, I assumed Hawaii was just one place or one island.

Clearly I was very wrong.

We spent one day in Honolulu on the island of Maui and the day after we docked in Lahaina - Maui

This place is more of what I dreamed Hawaii would look like.

There were gorgeous beaches complimented by palm trees that towered above you. There was a small town centre with quirky shops that sold trinkets and souvenirs.

We went into a local fudge store that sold fudge that had been made fresh that day. It was to die for.

But, small shops and fudge aside, I had one mission for that day.

In all my life I have only seen a couple or turtles and all of them have been in either captivity or on TV. So my mission today was to see a turtle in the wild.

So me and two other members of the cast got a taxi to the Sheraton Maui resort.

A gorgeous hotel with an absolutely stunning beach view. 

We strolled on to the beach and went for a swim in the ocean.

There were several hundred people on this beach and the majority of them were snorkelling around. 

I heard whispers from various people that they had seen turtles around these parts so I was ecstatic at the thought that there might be one and I could conquer my mission for the day.

However, before turtle spotting, myself and my cast mates swam out quite far into the ocean. 

We encountered a group of people who were climbing up some extremely steep and dangerous rocks in order to cliff dive off of the peak.



What a good idea!

And so, monkey see monkey do, we decided to do the exact same.

As I stood up on top of the cliff, I looked over to my right to see the horizon of the ocean. Luck be with me, as I did so, a school of dolphins went swimming by.

I turned away to face the sudden drop that was in front of me and as I looked down I suddenly felt queasy and a little uneasy.

I plucked up the courage and just took a huge leap of faith and before I knew it I had broken to surface of the water and I had plummeted into the ocean.






It was completely exhilarating.

Once the rush of cliff diving had worn off, It was now time to complete my mission.

I walked ashore, rented some snorkelling equipment and began my search for turtles.

I swam and I swam and I swam and I saw fish after fish after fish and yet...no turtles.

I pursued on for nearly an hour and still no sign of any turtles. 

With sorrow in my heart I decided to swim back to shore...maybe it just wasn't my day to see a turtle...

And then, above the noise of the cascading waves I heard a voice screaming:

  "A TURTLE LOOK A TURTLE!!!"

I swam towards the elated voice as if I was swimming in the olympics.

And there it was.

A turtle. 



But not just any turtle. This one particular turtle was absolutely enormous. 

I snorkled up to it in complete awe. It swam so close to me and I held my hand out towards it as if to show that I was no threat and I meant no harm.





It's face drew closer and closer to my hand and eventually after it had inspected my being, it elegantly swam past me and I was able to stroke it's shell. 

I followed this turtle around for what seemed like hours. 



Eventually it was time for me to leave and as I watched this turtle fly through the ocean, I couldn't help but feel completely elated and at peace that I had completed my mission in a completely satisfactory way. 

Next Stop: Peurto Vallarta - Mexico